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Gippsland lacks services for mentally ill

Despite the obvious need for this kind of service, Gippsland is falling short

By ABC online - 10th November 2000 - Back to News

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A report on psychiatry services in Gippsland has found there are no specialist services for mentally ill patients in the region.

Steering committee chairman Dr David Monash says around 23,000 people in Gippsland experience psychiatric disorders, but they have been robbed of the right to access specialised treatment.

He says the shortage of private psychiatrists in regional areas means patients must travel to Melbourne for treatment or settle for an appointment with their GP.

Dr Monash says private psychiatric appointments do not qualify for Medicare rebates, so federal and state funding to improve services is hard to get.

"There is no Medicare funding so this disadvantages our region to the tune of something like $2.3 million in mental health services.

"The second area is that the public psychiatry system only looks after the seriously mentally ill and that is a small proportion of the mentally ill, so therefore there are large numbers of people who don't meet that criteria."

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